When you first arrive in England (UK) NHS Find A Dental Web PageFind A Local Dentist and register yourself, and any children you have, with that Dentist straight away. This is because it can take two or more weeks to get an appointment with a dentist, even for a basic check-up, depending where you live in England (UK).
Even in London boroughs (districts) there are not that many dentists in each town. And even if you say "I will just use the dentist in the next town or borough", that might not be possible because of a particular dental practice only accepting patients from within its own postcode (town) or borough (district). It is this kind of restriction that makes dental practices busy and overcrowded.
The dental industry in the UK is split between Private Dental Practices and NHS Dental Practices, with some private dental practices providing treatments for nhs patients; usually to make extra money when their dental practice is just being established and/or when business is slow and they need extra patients. Look out for the "We are now accepting nhs patients" signs, that might make you feel like a second-class citizen!
With a private dental practice, you normally pay for your entire treatment. However, if you are receiving certain benefits from the government (i.e. a pensioner
receiving the Pension Credit benefit or an unemployed person receiving the Income Support benefit) and the private dental practice is accepting nhs patients, the
private dental practice will ask you to tick, or on your behalf will tick, the relevant declaration boxes on the government standard
NHS Dental Registration Form FP17Registration Form FP17; which you must sign as part of their registration process.
The price of private dental treatment varies from one private dental practice to another, as there are no official guidelines for what a dentist can and cannot charge for private treatment; which means you will need to shop around. Visit a few private dental practices and ask them for their pricelist and/or ask them the cost of a specific dental problem. Also ask if they allow installments (i.e. pay for treatment on a weekly basis).
NHS Information Web PageWhen you visit a dental practice that operates purely as an nhs dental practice, and therefore not private, you will be asked to sign the FP17 Registration Form (as mentioned above); after you have ticked any relevant boxes that exempt you from fully paying, or partially paying, for your dental treatment.
Once you are registered with an nhs dental practice (straight away), you are then normally asked to make an initial appointment for a routine check-up; usually within the next six months. You do not have to though. If you just want to register now, with no treatment, that is fine. Just call the dental practice when you are ready to make or need an appointment.
When you visit an nhs dental practice for your very first check-up appointment, you will be asked to pay £20.60 at the reception; either before or after the check-up. This is the price for a routine check-up. NHS dental treatment is not entirely free, unless you have some sort of NHS Information Web Pagefull exemption, even though you pay National Insurance Information Web PageNational Insurance and/or have an EHIC Information Web PageEHIC (European Health Insurance Card). In fact, nhs dental treatment is priced in accordance to its band (NHS Dental Charges Web Pagetreatment plan).
This is the level of dental treatment you will receive when booking each appointment for the first time, such as when you book your six monthly or yearly check-up. In other words, each new check-up is £20.60 and may consist of the following dental treatment; depending on the need and dentist's decision - Oral (teeth, gums and mouth) Examination, Mouth X-rays (especially on the first, initial, appointment), Teeth Cleaned (plaque removed and teeth polished) and advice (a lecture!) on 'How to prevent future problems'.
To clarify: If you just go for a routine check-up and nothing is found wrong with your teeth, you will pay £20.60 only. You will then be asked to book another routine check-up appointment for six months later, for example, if the dentist does not contact you first for another appointment or automatically give you another appointment before you leave the dental practice. Either way, you will then have to pay a new £20.60; but only if/when you visit the dental practice for that actual routine check-up. If you cancel that appointment there is no charge.
The level of dental treatment you will receive on Band 2 costs £56.30 and may consist of the following dental treatment; depending on the need and dentist's decision - Band #1 dental treatment plus Fillings, Root Canals and Removal Of Teeth.
To clarify: If after the Band #1 dental treatment, where you have already paid the £20.60 check-up fee (Band #1 fee), the dentist then informs you that you need two fillings and one tooth pulled out, you will then pay an additional £35.70 to cover the difference of being promoted to Band #2. In other words, they will now class you as a Band #2 patient. As Band #2 is £56.30, but you have already paid £20.60 (when you were a Band #1 patient), you only need to pay the difference of £35.70 to make the total of £56.30. The £35.70 can be paid next time.
If you cancel, and therefore do not receive the Band #2 dental treatment, you do not have to pay the £35.70. So never pay in advance, just in case you need to cancel an appointment.
NOTE WELL - Band #2 dental treatment is a one-off payment for that session. Meaning, you do NOT pay £56.30 for one filling, £56.30 for the other filling and then £56.30 for another tooth to be removed. These three jobs (treatments) are classed as One Session; even if it takes twenty appointments to get those three jobs done. So Band #2 treatment could be done over a period of weeks, but you will still pay one £56.30 only. Hence why many people wait until more of their teeth need treatment!
Band #3 dental treatment costs £244.30 and includes dental treatment from Bands 1 and 2 plus Crowns (Caps), Dentures (False Teeth), Bridges and other laboratory work.
Band #3 follows the same price plan as Band #2. To clarify: If after the Band #1 dental treatment, where you have already paid the £20.60 check-up fee (Band #1 fee), the dentist then informs you that you need two fillings, one tooth pulled out, and one tooth crowned (capped), you will then pay an additional £223.70 to cover the difference of being promoted to Band #3. In other words, they will now class you as a Band #3 patient. As Band #3 is £244.30, but you have already paid £20.60 (when you were a Band #1 patient), you only need to pay the difference of £223.70 to make the total of £244.30. The £223.70 can be paid next time.
If you cancel, and therefore do not receive the Band #3 dental treatment, you do not have to pay the £223.70. So never pay in advance, just in case you need to cancel an appointment.
NOTE WELL - Band #3 dental treatment is a one-off payment for that session. Meaning, you do NOT pay £244.30 for one filling, £244.30 for the other filling, £244.30 for another tooth to be removed and then £244.30 for another tooth to be crowned. These four jobs (treatments) are classed as One Session; even if it takes twenty appointments to get those four jobs done. So Band #3 treatment could be done over a period of weeks, but you will still pay one £244.30 only. Hence why many people wait until more of their teeth need treatment!
If you need emergency dental treatment and your dental practice is closed, perhaps because it is a weekend or national holiday, NHS 111 can help find you an 'Emergency Dentist'; which you may have to pay for as a private patient. If you do not have a dentist, some emergency dentists allow you to register with their dental practice whereby you are then classed as an nhs patient and pay for dental treatment as an nhs patient (as explained above).
If your toothache is really bad and an emergency dentist cannot be found, for whatever reason/s, you can always visit the hospital's own dental practice (dental ward). Saying this, they are limited to the type of dental treatment they can give you. Meaning, they might just give you anti-biotics and take care of the main tooth giving you the most pain, but will not treat ten bad teeth. After treating the main cause of your toothache, they will tell you to register with a dentist; if you do not currently have a dentist of course.
The GDC About Us Web PageGeneral Dental Council are the regulators for the dental profession. They have the job of registering qualified dental professionals, setting and enforcing dental standards, protecting the public from illegal practice, assuring the quality of dental education and investigating complaints; among other things.